Anne Arundel Council Delays Slots Bill Action

April 21, 2009|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,

The Anne Arundel County Council held off Monday night on introducing several amendments to a bill that would allow electronic slots in the county.

The legislation, submitted last month by County Executive John R. Leopold, would essentially allow Baltimore-based developer Cordish Cos. to build an elaborate casino with nearly 5,000 slot machines at Arundel Mills mall in Hanover. Current zoning laws do not allow slots in the county.

Councilman Daryl Jones, whose district includes the mall, asked that the council delay taking action until its next meeting May 4, noting that Councilman C. Edward Middlebrooks was unable to attend the meeting because he is recovering from surgery.

"It's my belief that the full council should be here" to vote, said Jones, who is expected to propose several amendments that would provide more protection to communities near the mall.

While two council members have said they plan to vote against the bill, nearly all of the members have publicly expressed concern about how a casino would affect traffic, crime and other issues raised by residents.

Several residents rallied outside the county building before Monday's meeting, holding signs opposing a slots casino at the mall. About two dozen residents wore red to the meeting to express their concern about the bill, which they said does not provide adequate protection for the communities near the mall.

"The message is really simple - it's that the legislation is really thin," said Natasha Mitchell, a resident of the Villages of Dorchester in Hanover. "We just want to make sure that this is done right."

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